The success of Nykaa Inspires Indian women entrepreneurs


In India, where more than half of the population is under 25, Ms. Falguni Nayar made the unusual choice to leave her job as an investment banker to establish a cosmetics company just before turning 50 in 2012. Following the public offering of her cosmetics business Nykaa, the country’s first woman-led unicorn, on Nov 10, Ms. Nayar is now a billionaire worth over US$7 billion (S$9.6 billion).
According to Forbes, this places her among India’s top 100 wealthiest persons, among five other women. Her trip has sparked significant debate about how it will affect the entrepreneurial environment or motivate other women in a country where women’s involvement in the workforce has been declining. This is even though Ms. Nayar, who is now 59, despises the term “women entrepreneur.”
“I believe there is a clear understanding that age is no barrier. I despise being labeled as a female entrepreneur… one must defy all clichés, including gender ones, to succeed.”
Ms. Nayar, who was previously the CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank’s investment banking division, founded Nykaa, an online store with no prior expertise in technology, cosmetics, or even retail. People were also hesitant to buy make-up and other cosmetic products online at the time, fearful of receiving counterfeit goods.
In previous interviews, she stated that the company ran on family money for the first two years. During the epidemic, the firm, which now has actual locations, developed thanks to exclusive arrangements with worldwide companies and cooperation with prominent Indian actress Katrina Kaif.
Ms. Nayar, whose husband is an investment banker, has benefited from her banking background when organizing the Nykaa IPO (IPO). Its shares made a tremendous first-day debut, closing at 2,207 rupees, up 96% from the IPO price of 1,125 rupees.


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